Expanding the Discourse on Antipoverty Policy: Reconsidering a Negative Income Tax

Wiederspan, Jessica, Elizabeth Rhodes, and Luke H. Shaefer. "Expanding the Discourse on Antipoverty Policy: Reconsidering a Negative Income Tax." Journal of Poverty 19, no. 2 (2015): 218-238. DOI: 10.1080/10875549.2014.991889, available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10875549.2014.991889.
This article proposes that advocates for the poor consider the replacement of the current means-tested safety net in the United States with a Negative Income Tax (NIT), a guaranteed income program that lifts families’ incomes above a minimum threshold. The article highlights gaps in service provision that leave millions in poverty, explains how a NIT could help fill those gaps, and compares current expenditures on major means-tested programs to estimated expenditures necessary for a NIT. Finally, it addresses the financial and political concerns that are likely to arise in the event that a NIT proposal gains traction among policy makers.